Hudson Records (label)
23 April 2021 (released)
14 April 2021
I’ve been following Matt Boulter’s career for some years, ever since I first saw him with Southend’s brilliant Lucky Strikes.
His material crosses from folk to Americana and sometimes even touching on baroque, always with a passionate purity of tone and a gentleness born of care.
He doesn’t just write songs but rather tells stories and paints pictures with his words and through his two previous albums and many EPs he has built a growing reputation as a writer, performer and sideman.
This album, for me, is way out his best work to date.
‘Clifftown’ is very much based in his native Essex seaside suburban heartlands.
A series of stories about the lives and personalities of a fictional town very much like Southend but they translate easily to characters you might find around Yarmouth or Barry or Skegness.
The 12 tracks all have their own personalities, as do the characters in them and the result is a dozen beautifully crafted vignettes of life in the town and the surrounding marshlands and suburbs. It also gives a feeling of the gradual decrepidation of the town as the main feed from the city nearby moves away, leaving a town with little purpose or identity to outsiders.
The songs are beautifully written and performed, sometimes just voice and acoustic guitar and at others a full rock band format and Andy Bell’s production together with help from a stellar bunch of supporting musicians including members of Bellowhead and Spriritualized support Boulter’s soft and gentle vocals.
I’ve listened to the album a dozen times and picked up new nuances and edges every time.
It’s an album that really rewards the listener and you cannot help but be delighted time after time.